Where Hope Is: Stories of Benedictine Influence

  • June 30, 2024 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Hirt Auditorium Blasco Public Library

    160 East Front Street
    Erie, Pennsylvania 16507
Ticket Price $10.00 Buy Tickets

"Where Hope Is: Stories of Benedictine Influence" is a new interview-based theater production by playwright Jenn Bokoch Gillett. The play reflects a snapshot-in-time - 1960s to 1980s - of the influence of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. It is created from a dozen conversations culled from more than 60 interviews conducted by Jenn with St. Benedict Academy (SBA) alumnae, Benedictine sisters, and others whose lives were shaped and are still being shaped by the sisters.

The story is one of spirituality, community, and steadfastness in facing questions of meaning, faith, and gospel accountability, that challenged thinking and instilled young women with a  sense of their own worth and power. It's a story of prophetic voices and compassionate commitment to those denied a place at any table. It's a women's story of ongoing potential for new generations seeking connection and meaning today.

The scenes that the actors will portray on stage will be combined with short, giant-screen video clips of actual interviews in the creative telling of this women's story.

Jenn Bokoch Gillett is a documentary theater-maker residing in New York City. Her mother and her aunt were SBA graduates, and she grew up hearing intriguing stories about their high school years- which is the connection, the motivation, and the inspiration behind this new work. Director Ashley Renee Thaxton-Stevenson and six actors will accompany her from New York to present "Where Hope Is." They have been working on the play for over a year.

Parking is free, and the theater is fully accessible.

Date & Time

Sun, Jun 30, 2024 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Venue Details

Hirt Auditorium Blasco Public Library

160 East Front Street
Erie, Pennsylvania 16507 Hirt Auditorium Blasco Public Library
Benedictine Sisters of Erie

Since 1856 the Benedictine Sisters of Erie have stood on the edge of tomorrow creating possibility in Erie. A monastic community of 68 women who follow the 1,500-year-old wisdom tradition known as The Rule of Benedict. Their outreach, from teaching throughout the Diocese of Erie until the 1980s to the ministries they began establishing to serve other needs in the city in the 1960s, have grown out of their monastic prayer and community life.

The sisters opened St. Benedict Academy in 1870 and ran the girls' high school until 1988 when finances and changing demographics forced the community to close it after nearly 120 years. Almost immediately the alumnae began organizing ways to remain connected and to continue supporting each other and the sisters who had formed them. To this day the St. Benedict Academy Alumnae Association remains strong.

The spirit continues to be carried forward by "SBA Descendants," those like Jenn who grew up on stories of the life-changing SBA community and education as experienced by their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers.